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COUNTY OF WARNER No. 5 - Excerpts taken from the "Story of Rural Municipal
Government in Alberta 1909 to 1983" by the Association of the Municipal
Districts and Counties
Contributed for use in Alberta Digital Archives by Darlene Homme
January, 1913 - Municipal District of Warner No. 36 incorporated.
January 23, 1923 - Municipal District of Sugar City No. 37 incorporated.
1942 - Sugar City Municipality enlarged to include Local Improvement District
No. 7 and portions of Local Improvement Districts 8, 38 and 67.
January 6, 1950 - Warner Municipality enlarged to include Milk River, Coutts and
December 31, 1953 - Sugar City dissolved and portion added to the Municipal
District of Warner.
January 1, 1954 - County of Warner No. 5 incorporated.
The County of Warner No. 5 comprises approximately 50 townships, and is bordered
on the south by the Canadian-United States border, It is composed of the former
Municipal District of Warner No. 36 and a portion of the former Municipal
District of Sugar City No. 37.
The Municipal District of Warner No. 36 was incorporated in January, 1913.
Members of the new council present at the first meeting January 6th were C. L.
Atkins, Reeve; Lewis Peterson; H. 0. Rollag; S. G. Barrows; and, F. W. Woitte.
E. Trockstad was appointed Secretary-Treasurer of the new Municipality. Meetings
for the first year were held alternately in Warner, Tyrell's Lake School and in
John Whitesel's Hotel in New Dayton. Later a municipal office and barn were
built near Tyrell's Lake, nine miles from Warner. In those days there were no
automobiles so alt local travel was by horseback or by horse drawn vehicles. The
nearest bank was in Warner and one time the deposit totalled $4,000.00 which the
Secretary took to the bank on horseback.
Council fees were set at $3.00 per meeting, plus mileage. The Reeve's pay was
$400 per diem. The mill rate was set at three mills on an assessment of
$2,041,733.00. Bylaw No. 1 was passed in June, 1913, to authorize the council to
borrow by way of debentures a sum not exceeding $20,000.00 with interest at 6%
psr annum. By-Law No. 2 was passed to restrain all horses, cattle and sheep,
excepting those owned by resident electors and occupants of the Rural
Municipality of Warner No. 36, from running at large. The first delegates to a
municipal convention were sent to Calgary in 1915.
The first case of indigent relief was dealt with in 1914. Bumper crops in 1915
and 1916, with good prices helped to put the young municipality on its feet. But
then drought hit the area in 1918 and 1919 and many applications for seed grain
were processed, and a great deal of feed was shipped into the district.
Some of the men in addition to those named above who also served this district
well, and to whom much credit is due for their foresight and devoted services
are: N. L. Eliason, Mike Mueller, G. W. Holroyd, A. I. Millhaem, N. C. Tregloan,
J. C. Neilson, W. L. Shields, John Whitesel, J. M. Nelson, W. M. Haslam, J. M.
Hale, Perry Jones, W. M. Scott, J. T. Graham, M. J. Conner, Roi Risinger, P. K.
Moreland, J. W. Pittman, 0. G. Cronkhite, J. Tudor, J. H. Barton, and F. M.
Siedel. Secret~ry-Treasurers were E. Trockstad, T. A. Spackman, A. E. Jochem, T.
D. Mohan, Chris Goughnour, and J. B. Sheran.
It was during the early thirties that the horse-drawn road equipment was
replaced with tractors. Drought, poor crops, and low prices during the thirties
inflicted great hardships on the people throughout the district. Many farmers
paid a portion of their taxes by doing roadwork. The rate of pay was $2.50 per
10 hour day for a man, while a man and team received $4.00. In 1947 the council
commenced its road gravelling program.
On January 6, 1950 the municipality was enlarged to include the Milk River,
Coutts, and Masinasin districts. The first Councillors of the new enlarged
municipality were 0. G. Cronkhite, Reeve, J. H. Barton, M. Pederson, D. E.
Holroyd, A. E. Jones, J. M. Hughson and A. P. Jones. J. B. Sheran was Secretary-
Treasurer. A new office was built in Warner and the old office and barn at
Tyrell's Lake were sold. Health services were improved with district nurses
stationed at Warner and Milk River.
The Municipal District of Sugar City No. 37 was incorporated January 23, 1923
under the direction of Honorable R. G. Reid, Minister of Municipal Affairs. The
new district included alt of Townships 4, 5 and 6 in Ranges 19, 20 and 21. Jesse
Knight came to the area in 1901 looking for a ranch. He recognized the potential
of the district as a great farming area and purchased a block of land comprising
56,000 acres from the Alberta Railway and Irrigation Co. Mormon settlers from
Utah soon arrived and 3,000 acres were broken in 1902 to be planted to sugar
beets in 1903. The first sugar factory in Alberta was constructed at Raymond to
process the 1903 crop of beets. A number of Japanese people immigrated to
Alberta to help work the beets grown. The population of Alberta was too sparse
to support a sugar factory so it lasted only a few years.
The first council had the following members: J. H. Walker, Reeve; J. D. Costley,
Frank Coffin, R.R. Murray N.W. Peterson, and 0. Minor. 0. H. Snow was appointed
Secretary-Treasurer at a salary of $900.00 per annum which included office rent.
Council fees were set at $4.00 per day. It is interesting to note that N.W.
Peterson remained on the council continuously until 1950. Many of those years he
served as Reeve.
Records show that the first material aid was issued in December 1921, when an
allowance of $15.00 per month was granted to a widow. A Board of Health was
appointed January 2, 1924. That summer, Joseph Snow was hired as road foreman.
His crew was H.R. Bryner, Ira McBride and Joseph Hicks. The road grant that year
was $444.50 and the municipality had to match that amount. Mrs. Bryner was hired
as cook in 1925 at $1.50 per day. J.W. Evans was the first auditor. His fee was
$30.00 per year.
In 1925 the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company moved a sugar factory to Raymond. That year
(1925) the allocations for public works were as follows:
Divisions 1, 2 and 3 $ 600,00 each
Division No. 4 1,500.00
Division No. 5 3,000.00
Division No. 6 700.00
The first weed inspector was A.A. Wilde of Welling.
In April, 1926 the council purchased a brick building for an office. It was cool
in summer and much colder in winter. At the same meeting a resolution was passed
to levy a business tax of $50.00 on the sugar factory and on each grain
In 1942 the municipality was dissolved and the area enlarged to include Local
Improvement District No. 7 and portions of Local Improvement Districts No. 8, 38
and 67. The Council of the new enlarged district were R.M. Matson, Reeve; J. S.
Henry, A. 0. Peterson, N.W Peterson and Alonzo Nelson. 0. H. Snow was-appointed
Secretary-treasurer. On June 30, 1942, because of illness in his family, O. H.
Snow resigned and D. M. Holladay was appointed as his successor. A new modern
office building was constructed in 1950 and the old brick building dismantled.
On December 31, 1953 Sugar City was dissolved. A portion was added to the
Municipal District of Cardston No. 6, part to the Municipal District of
Lethbridge No. 25, and a part to the Municipal District of Warner to form the
County of Warner No. 5.
The County of Warner No. 5 was incorporated January 1, 1954 with the following
Council. D.R. Gundlock, Chairman. E.F. Pittman, J. M. Hughson, D.E. Holroyd, 0.
G. Cronkhite, H.R. Snow, H.M. Holmes, G.R. Metzger, and J. H. Barton. J.B.
Sheran was appointed Secretary-Treasurer. D.R. Gundlock continued as Chairman of
the Council until 1958 when he was elected to the Federal Government. 0. G.
Cronkhite served on the Council of the old Municipal District and the County for
23 years, part of that time as Reeve. Since his retirement in 1960 he has been
the farmer member on the Farm Purchase Board. J.H. Barton served on the Council
for 17 years and was Reeve for three of those years. J.B. Sheran retired as
Secretary-Treasurer in March, 1958, and was succeeded by D.M. Holladay.
R.A. Kimmltt was the first School Superintendent. Under his direction the
schools were organized under the County administration. A central school library
was formed with Mrs. Beatrice Cassel as Librarian. When Mrs. Cassel retired in
1967 the library was closed and the books moved to the schools. New modern
schools have been built in Raymond, Milk River, Wrentham, Warner, Coutts and
Masinasin. Modern teacherages have been built at most centres in the County and
are rented to the teachers at reasonable rentals.
Joseph Flexhaug was employed in 1954 as Public Works Superintendent. Under the
direction of the Council and Flexhaug's supervision many miles of roads have
been constructed and gravelled. The County has a good line of modern
There is one humorous incident regarding a new Councillor, although it wasn't so
humorous at the time. At the first meeting this Councillor attended, a By-Law
was passed to purchase two new scrapers costing $110,000. About this time the
Councillor fainted. Fortunately he recovered completely in a few days, but he
has been kidded many times since, about the price of machinery "knocking him
The historic Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park is situated in the south-east part
of the County. Many drawings and writings made by the Indians on the sandstone
are still visible. Near by may be seen the deep ruts of part of the Old Fort
Benson Trail which meandered across the County on its way to Fort Maclead.
There are also three municipal parks located within the County-one on the Milk
River, one at Tyrell's Lake and the other at Chin Reservoir. They provide picnic
areas and good fishing.
The Agricultural Service Board was organized in 1959 with Councillor H.M. Holmes
as Chairman and I. G. Doenz representing the farmers on that Board. A.E.
Sherman, D.A., represented the Provincial Government. Dwaine Michelson was hired
as Field Supervisor. This Board conducts a very extensive agricultural program
such as weed control, soil erosion, calf vaccinations for Bangs control, tree
planting, pest control, problem farms, tree applications, etc. The County has
now been declared a Bangs free area by the Federal Department of Agriculture.
A new modern office building was erected in 1961 at a cost of $80,000. This was
wholly paid for at the time of construction. In 1965 a Health Unit was organized
to include all the towns and villages within the County. There are Branch
offices in Warner and Raymond. Each is staffed by a registered nurse and Steno-
Technician. A part-time health officer was also appointed. Hospitals at
Lethbridge, Raymond and Milk River serve the area.
Six- new fire engines were purchased in 1966. These are stationed in towns and
villages within the county and manned by local fire brigades.
In 1961 a Co-operative seed cleaning plant was erected at Craddock, and another
is now being built east of Milk River. A District Agriculturist and a Home
Economist provide a very extensive program throughout the County.
After many years of disappointments and frustrations work commenced this fall on
a drain to drain the low-lying area north of Raymond and west of Stirling. This
drainage project, when completed will reclaim many acres of land. Another
drainage project is just commencing south of Warner, while the Agricultural
Committee has a number of smaller projects under way.
The 1967 assessment is $12,070,350. The present Council is E.F. Pittman, Reeve;
J. P. Blackmer, G.D. Minion, J.H. Otto, Lief Trockstad, H.R. Snow, R.C. Meldrum,
F.A. Nelson and Mrs. E.G. Mueller. Mrs. Mueller is the first lady elected to the
council of a County or rural municipality in this part of the province. E.F.
Pittman has 22 years of service on the Council and School Board. H.R. Snow has
20 years on the Council.
The council of the County of Warner consists of nine members representing the
nine divisions in the county. The County Board of Education is a committee of
fourteen, nine councillors and five town and village representatives.
Present members of council are: Reeve Dean Lien, Phillip Morrison, Don
Christensen, Marvin DahI, Leonard Wensman, DelbertCollin,AlexJozsa, Robert
Grbavac, and Henry Schoorl. Present County Board of Education members are
Charles Ackroyd, Sharon Smith, Glen Smith, Warren Depew, and Eva Rains.
On April 1, 1972 Ken Duncan was appointed secretary-treasurer following the
retirement of D.M. Holladay. Presently, B.J. Nilsson is the administrator-a
position he took over in 1982 following Ken Duncan's retirement. The secretary
of schools is Tony Martens, appointed in 1982.
The entire council of the county are members of all main committees, and this
procedure has worked very efficiently, with each councillor having a direct part
of all activities. Council meetings are scheduled for the second Tuesday of each
Presently, the county employs one hundred teachers in the five centres and seven
hutterite colony schools. Superintendent of schools is Duncan Gillespie.
The county continues the service board activities as originally started,
however, specialized weed control programs, extensive drainage projects, and
roadside spraying have become the main concern. Presently all nine councillors
comprise the Service Board Committee.
A new office building was erected in 1961 at a cost of $80,000. This was wholly
paid for at time of construction. In 1965 a health unit was organized to include
all of the towns and villages within the county. In 1979 this health unit joined
with the Barons-Eureka Unit to the north and today is known as the Barons-
Eureka-Warner Health Unit, with the main office in Coaldale and sub-offices in
Raymond and Warner.
Fire protection on an organized and county-wide basis was commenced when council
approved the purchase of six fire engines in 1966. These were stationed in the
villages and towns within the county and operated by local volunteer fire
brigades. Five of the original six engines have now been traded with the total
cost of six 1981 engines totalling $347,000.00. The county is proud of its local
fire brigades and many residents have been very thankful for their efficient
There are two cooperative seed cleaning plants located in the county, one east
of Milk River, serving the southern area; and one at Graddock, serving the
northern area. Both plants have enjoyed success and surveys have shown a
dramatic improvement in the quality of seed being used.
In 1973 the Government of Alberta saw fit to establish a district agriculturist
and home economist in Warner to serve the needs of the county. This office has
been instrumental in providing a wide variety of short courses throughout the
area. This has changed somewhat, in that a further education council was
organized in January of 1978. Now most courses are coordinated through this body
and in close cooperation with the Department of Agriculture.
The total county budget for 1982 amounted to $10,400,000.00, which includes
school, municipal, agriculture, and health unit. The county budget in 1954, the
year the county was formed, was $1,431,000.00.
In 1980 the County of Warner opened its new 9000 square feet maintenance shop on
the northern outskirts of Warner. This new facility, built at a cost of
$425,000.00, provides modern space for maintenance of all county equipment. All
main road widening has been contracted during the last few years, with our own
fleet of machines and trucks being basically concerned with a good maintenance
and gravelling program for county roads.
The County of Warner No. 5 is happy to be a member of the Alberta Association of
Municipal Districts and Counties, and feels very fortunate to be a small corner
of this great Province of Alberta.